New Jersey black pastor to hold Debt-Free Symposium

Rev. Dr. Deforest B. Soaries, Jr., and First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens announce DFREE® Lifestyle Weekend Symposium


Event Slated for October 19th and 20th


Somerset, NJ ( — dfree® and First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens (FBCLG) announced the dfree® Lifestyle Weekend Symposium will be held on October 19th – 20th, 2012 at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, located at 771 Somerset Street, Somerset, NJ.

The dfree® financial strategy was first introduced to a nationwide audience in the special airing of CNN’s documentary Almighty Debt and featured its author, Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Senior Pastor of FBCLG. In celebration of the two-year anniversary of the CNN special feature, the first dfree® Lifestyle Weekend Symposium will take place at FBCLG – where it all started.

“The vision of dfree® emerged out of a need to help our people with finances,” said Rev. Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr., Senior Pastor of FBCLG. “Freedom involves both education and economics. The goal is to help one million families live a debt free lifestyle.”

This free, two-day event will celebrate the progress that many churches and groups from across the United States have made helping their members attain financial freedom, through various activities including a panel discussion of national speakers. In addition, the new website for The Billon Dollar Challenge, a national dfree® initiative that will challenge Americans to pay down a billion dollars of consumer debt, will be unveiled during a Friday night presentation. This website will enable individuals and groups to set debt reduction goals and track their progress.

“Sun Life is honored to partner with dfree® to show how leveraging employee benefits opportunities can help U.S. workers maintain a sustainable path toward financial security and help meet The Billon Dollar Challenge to reduce consumer debt ,” said Wes Thompson, president of Sun Life Financial, USA.

The financial empowerment campaign has attracted Fortune 500 companies in the financial services industry – such as Prudential Financial, Inc., and Sun Life Financial among others – to join the movement and to support dfree®’s mission of making Americans debt free.

“We are proud to support Dr. Soaries’ mission to reduce debt in America,” said Joan Cleveland, senior vice president of Business Development with Prudential’s Individual Life Insurance business. “Events like this afford us an opportunity to come together to increase financial literacy and help more Americans achieve financial security.”

Lifestyle Symposium Weekend contributors and sponsors include:
* Prudential Financial, Inc.,
* Sun Life Financial, first corporate sponsor of The Billon Dollar Challenge, and
* Urban Ministries, Inc., partner and sponsor of dfree®.

“Dr. Soaries’ unique background and qualifications as a pastor, public policymaker and community leader allow him the insightful ability to understand and address financial issues that plague our churches and communities,” said Endon Anderson, senior director of Marketing at Urban Ministries, Inc. “UMI has been blessed to enjoy a partnership with him and his crusade to empower people to gain control over their finances to lead healthier emotional and spiritual lives,” she added.

Established in 2005, dfree® has become a national household name serving individuals, churches, student groups, community organizations and credit unions. With a grassroots approach that mobilizes people to use existing resources for managing and using money, the dfree® strategy is delivered through education, celebration and support.

For more information about the dfree® Lifestyle Weekend Symposium, visit: For more information about dfree®, visit:
About the dfree® Lifestyle Weekend Symposium:
October 2012 marks the two-year anniversary of the screening of CNN’s Almighty Debt: Black in America documentary which featured First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Rev. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., and dfree®. This symposium has been created to show the progress that we’ve made since the screening of to highlight the churches, organizations and individuals who have chosen to join the dfree® movement and most importantly, to give those who haven’t heard about dfree® an opportunity to learn how it can help them to achieve FINANCIAL FREEDOM & ECONOMIC EXCELLENCE!

About First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens:
Founded in 1937, First Baptist of Lincoln Gardens is a vibrant community-focused, multi-cultural and historical African-American church rooted in Baptist doctrine and is located in the Somerset section of Franklin Township, NJ. The church’s motto is “Faith in Action.” First Baptist bears witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ for spiritual, educational, economic and community transformation. In October 2010, CNN featured First Baptist in the two-hour documentary Almighty Debt. For more information on the church and its ministries, visit